Al Jazeera yet to receive formal complaint over migrant report

Al Jazeera’s 101 East programme reported on undocumented migrants in Malaysia.

PETALING JAYA: Government officials have yet to lodge a formal complaint to the Al Jazeera news channel over its recent report accusing Malaysia of ill-treating undocumented migrants during the Covid-19 pandemic, FMT has learnt.

A source in the know told FMT that Putrajaya has not actually sought a formal explanation from the satellite TV channel, which is based in Doha. “Al Jazeera has yet to receive any formal request from the Malaysian government for an explanation on the matter,” said the source.

Attempts by FMT to obtain comments from Al Jazeera’s Kuala Lumpur office were unsuccessful.

Malaysia’s crackdowns on undocumented migrants during the lockdown period, and cases of infections at immigration detention centres, have been widely covered in local and international media.

Al Jazeera aired an episode on its 101 East programme on Friday with the title “Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown”. The 25-minute programme accused the government of using public health and safety reasons to arrest those without documents.

In response, Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin has said Malaysians agreed with the government’s policies on undocumented migrants.

Senior minister for security Ismail Sabri Yaakob, however, said Al Jazeera should issue an apology to Malaysians. He said the accusations levelled against Putrajaya were “lies, ill-intentioned and without clear facts”.

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